Small Business Marketing plans are essential to independent retailers. It’s important to have a marketing plan. It’s even more important for it to be great and focused. Often, marketing plans are too generic. Generic marketing doesn’t address realistic and measurable goals to increase the business’s conversion rate from observer to customer. It doesn’t matter if the retailer has been around for 1 year or 25 years, they need a good plan.
When it comes to creating an effective marketing plan, there are steps that management should follow. From research and advise, to asking questions of the customers. Don’t forget to listen to the customers feedback! This is more important than even the questions, sometimes.
One of the biggest barriers that independent retailers struggles with is the cost of a good plan. The good news is it doesn’t have to cost much at all. So, if the store is on a strict budget, they can create an actionable and workable marketing plan that fits their goals and objectives.
There are 5 questions every retailer will need to ask and answer when coming up with an effective marketing plan.
- Who Am I? Start here. This is an important question. What does the store offer its customers? What is the store’s mission? What kind of voice to you want your store to have?
- Who are my Customers? What is the client base now? Who are my potential customers? Asking these two questions will help target the ideal market for the retail store AND develop a plan around it.
- What are the Goals and Objectives of the store? Again, figuring out what the store wants to accomplish and, if possible, in what timeframe. Does the store want to grow out into another location? Does it want to expand its product line? How much revenue growth does it want to see after the implementation of the marketing plan?
- What does the budget look like? Spend time looking at the finances and see how much is available to craft a marketing plan. Obviously, spending more than the store has is going to probably undo at least part of the end goal before it even gets started.
- How will the marketing goals be reached? A plan is great but if there’s no clear path to success, it’s just a plan. Some suggest working backwards to achieve the goals of the plan. This may work well, depending on the store’s current business model.
Implement goals and strategies to work the marketing plan. Don’t let the marketing plan work the business. An example is, if a goal is to increase foot traffic by 30% in a year then work on a strategy to get there. Maybe more visibility in the community? Using technology to get the store’s visibility out. The key is to be consistent and persistent about the goals from the plan. Take each one on one at a time. This will help prevent burnout.
In conclusion, the strategies and initiatives from the marketing plan drive the business. Take them seriously and month over month, analyze the costs of the plan. If the costs are getting too high, re-evaluate the plan and make small changes. Don’t forget to celebrate small wins. The thought here is to keep all things positive and keep the store on the path to success.